Sun, 06 Mar 2005

Humor sweetens Banyu's blue tale

Kurniawan Hari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Award-winning Tora Sudiro of Arisan fame plays Banyu in the new film, Banyu Biru, about one young man's long journey from a lost love to a love found.

Banyu tries to reconcile his hate relationship with his father 10 years after quarreling and then leaving home.

The film opens with happy couple Yuskar (Slamet Raharjo) and his wife (Berliana Febrianti) dancing in their home, while young Banyu watches the scene from behind a door.

But this happy and stable childhood is shattered by a tragic accident -- with heart-rending consequences.

The teenager Banyu decides to leave his father, whom he blames for the accident. In Banyu's eyes, his father neglected the family and focused only on work.

The film follows a fast plot, now showing Banyu as a successful customer service clerk at a hypermarket -- but this is not enough to help Banyu forget his sad memories. Eventually, the young man's inner turmoil turns his feet toward the self-denied path to home, and his real journey begins.

Director Teddy Soeriaatmadja offers some comic relief in this sad tale, written by Rayya Makarim and Prima Rusdi of Pasir Berbisik, and produced by Shanty Harmayn.

Teddy made his debut with Culik (Kidnap), a short movie which he brought to the Jakarta International Film Festival, Jiffest 2000.

Apart from Tora, Slamet and Berliana, Banyu Biru features the talents of actors Didi Petet, Butet Kartaradjasa, actress Rima Melati and designer Oscar Lawalatta, with Dian Sastrowardoyo playing Banyu's love interest, Sula. The title soundtrack is Ismail Marzuki's Juwita Malam, covered by rock band Slank.

Some aspects of the film, particularly its disengagement from any familiar landmarks, prompted queries from journalists who had the honor of watching a screening. For example, the film's setting is unclear.

In response, Teddy said these were all intentional. "That was my interpretation. We decide to obscure the location. It is a surrealistic movie," he said.

Shanty added that the film was made with a budget of Rp 5 billion.

"We plan to premiere this film on March 9 as part of our promotion," she said.

Banyu Biru will be screened at theaters in major cities across Indonesia starting on March 10.